Actor Preity Zinta had a brush with the Customs department at the international airport here over clearing some luggage when she returned from Colombo on May 28.
Zinta had gone through the green channel with a handbag when she was stopped by an Air Intelligence Unit batch headed by deputy commissioner of Customs Sameer Wankhede. She reportedly told them she had no more bags and left the airport. Only passengers who do not have anything to declare can pass through the green channel.
However, after about half-an-hour, three of her staff, including her personal assistant, a make-up man and another person, arrived with eight bags, of which four were handbags. All these bags had tags bearing Zinta’s name.
The Customs officials refused to clear the bags, saying the actor should have been there according to the rules.
After the Customs issued summons to her on the same day (May 28), the actor sent her brother the next day with authorisation to clear the baggage.
When asked, commissioner of Customs PM Saleem confirmed the incident. Customs has seized two Buddha statues, which the actor claimed were gifts. “We will now ascertain the statues’ value,” a Customs official said, requesting anonymity. Customs will charge duty on the statues if their value exceeds Rs 35,000.